Best Practices for Recruiting Schools for Educational Studies


In a recent report, “Recruiting Participants for Large-Scale Random Assignment Experiments in School Settings,” a team of SRI Education researchers share practical advice on how to recruit schools for educational studies.

There is an art to successful recruitment, but there are few occasions for experienced researchers to share lessons learned about recruitment with colleagues. The report synthesizes the SRI researchers experiences conducting more than 20 random assignment experiments to help other researchers get a head start. Recruitment is a key challenge for researchers conducting any large school-based study. Further, random assignment studies are challenging because the process requires schools to agree to unfamiliar processes for longer periods of time.

We suggest thinking about recruitment as six sequential phases:

  1. Study Design
  2. Intervention Packaging
  3. Planning a Recruitment Process
  4. Designing Recruitment Messages
  5. Running a Recruitment Campaign
  6. After Recruitment

The report discusses typical issues and problems that can occur within each phase and illustrates a range of useful strategies and responses with examples from relevant SRI Education projects. A one-page summary provides recommendations for running a successful recruitment effort.

With the release of this report, SRI Education hopes to stimulate a broader conversation about recruitment techniques in the research community, leading to more efficient and successful studies.

The free report is available here.

SRI will give presentations based on the report at the upcoming Institute of Education Sciences Principal Investigators meeting on September 3 and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference on September 4. Both meetings will be held in Washington DC.

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